Scarlet Pygmy – little gems of the swampy grassland

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Nannophya pygmaea
Common Name: Scarlet Pygmy

Nannophya pygmaea is easily the smallest true dragonfly in the region and one of the smallest in the world. These little gems frequent grassy edges of lakes and reservoirs, opened drains and marshes, and forest edges.

In Singapore, it is locally abundant often perched with abdomen raised in the hot sun.

Places where I often encountered include most of the reservoirs edges of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

This is an immature male. It is yellowish brown in color.

This male is still at it’s maturing stage where the striking red coloration has already started to form at it’s abdomen.
Another maturing male.
A fully matured male. The eyes are also red on top and dark brown below. It has red dark patches at the base of it’s wings.
A young female. The abdomen has a lighter tone of brownish and white then fully adult female.
Matured female is darker in color. The dorsum of the thorax is black and a striking transverse bands of darker brown and white at it’s abdomen.
Another matured female.

A truly little gems of the forest as it often elude an observer’s eyes as they are so tiny and so inconspicuous amongst the open grasslands.

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Agriocnemis nana (Laidlaw, 1914)

Family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific Name: Agriocnemis nana
Common Name: Dwarf Wisp

This tiny damselfly is the smallest damselfly in Singapore. It is found in grass marshes in open forests, small streams and vegetation around edges of the central catchment reservoirs. It is very rare and localised in Singapore. The only places where I have found this species is at the water edges of the MacRitchie reservoir.
 The male has a blue thorax with black strips and blue abdomen. The labrum is blue and the pterostigma is bluish-white.

A male with striking bi-colour of yellow and blue on it’s thorax and abdomen.

A slightly younger male

Another young male.

This is a teneral male.

Same individual – dorsal view.

 The female is more colourful with green-yellowish thorax and blue abdomen. The pterostigma is pale brown.

Female with stunning colour. The thorax is lime green and the underside of the abdomen is light blue.

Another female individual found at the reservoir edge.

The stunning colour shows up well on this female.

I have only seen this species on just two to three occasions at the MacRitchie reservoir. Hope this species still survives as I have not seen it for quite a long time.

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Nannophya pygmaea Rambur, 1842

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Nannophya pygmaea
Common Name: Scarlet Pygmy

The smallest true dragonfly in Singapore and one of the smallest in the World, the scarlet pygmy has a total body length of merely 16-17mm. It is quite a localised species and commonly found at open grassy and swampy areas as well as inlets and water edges of reservoirs. So far, I have encountered this species at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, MacRitchie Reservoir Nature Reserve, and at the vicinity of Chestnut Ave forests.

The male has a totally red thorax and abdomen. The wing base is tinted with amber. Juvenile male is yellowish brown in colour. Female is darker and the abdomen has a transverse bands of dark brown and white.

Both male and female are very active during noon time. It is a usual sight of seeing this species adopt an obelisk posture during mid-day whilst the sun is right above. I guess this is to minimise exposing their body to intense heat during the day.

This is indeed a cute and lovely dragonfly species – one of my favourites.

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Matured male

Immatured male
Immature male

Immature male
Immature male

Female
Female

Female
Female

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Rhyothemis triangularis Kirby, 1889

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Rhyothemis triangularis
Common Name: Sapphire Flutterer

Sapphire Flutterer, an uncommon dragonfly, tend to inhabit ponds, streams, and reservoirs. So far, I have only encountered this species a couple of times, at MacRitchie Reservoir.

This species is very distinctive and unmistakeable in appearance. Males and females are similar. Eyes reddish brown on top and dark brown below. Thorax and abdomen are dark metallic blue. Most distinctive are a pair of wings that have a broad and deep purplish blue patches. Males tend to be brighter and females more darker in colour.

R. triangularis is the smallest Rhyothemis species that can be found in Singapore.

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Male
Male

Female
Female

Female
Female